Edwards not totally displeased with Atlanta loss

The Jets lost their preseason opener to Atlanta Saturday night, but coach Herman Edwards was pleased by the performances of some rookies and relieved his club escaped the game without any serious injuries. However, expect the search for a punt returner to go outside the organization this week.

The Jets accomplished what they set out to do in Saturday night's preseason opener against Atlanta: They finished the game free of serious injuries and got their inexperienced young players some valuable playing time.

Sure, the Jets lost to the Falcons, 20-10, but the end result was far down on the list of priorities developed by coach Herman Edwards. "We got out of the game clean," Edwards said.

Edwards was pleased with rookie offensive linemen Siitupe Peko and Kareem McKenzie as well as the fourth-quarter outing of rookie quarterback Tory Woodbury, whom the Jets hope to develop into their third-string quarterback. After an early case of the nerves—Woodbury played at tiny Winston Salem State and admitted on Friday that he was nervous about playing in front of what he expected to be the largest crowd he had ever seen—he "…showed some flashes once he settled down and that was nice to see," Edwards said.

Edwards was also encouraged by the performances of rookie running backs Reggie White and Lamont Jordan. "Lamont, the way he [ran], it looked like he had more yards than he actually had," Edwards said.

On defense, fourth-year defensive end Eric Ogbogu, who missed all of last season with a shoulder injury, was spectacular in his three quarters of duty and finished with three tackles and a sack. After falling off the Jets' radar screen last year, Ogbogu has raced up the depth chart this summer.

On the negative side, second-year quarterback Chad Pennington struggled again and continued to look tentative. And the internal search for a punt returner for Santana Moss  yielded nothing as the Jets' best return Saturday night came on a touchback.

Expect the Jets to call in free agent Darrien Gordon for a tryout—and soon. "Do we want to bring him in right now or do we want to wait a little while?" Edwards said. "That will be the discussion we'll have this week."

Safety and special teams demon Chris Hayes had the Jets' only reported injury, a mild left knee sprain. He sat out Monday's walkthrough, which was attended by NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. The Jets return to two-a-day workouts Tuesday.


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